Gabon Magazine

Laboratory of ideas
On June 8, Libreville will host the New York Forum AFRICA. This new action-orientated platform unites international economic leaders from the private and public sectors to help propel a growth continent towards further progress.

More than 800 business leaders, politicians, economists and entrepreneurs will be in Libreville on June 8 for the first New York Forum AFRICA (NYF AFRICA), a pan-African global meeting aimed at helping the continent to prosper on the world economic stage.

Hosted by President Ali Bongo Ondimba in association with the Omar Bongo Foundation and Richard Attias & Associates, the new forum will bring together stakeholders from the private and public sectors for three days of talks on how to innovate and develop Africa’s economy. According to the mission statement of NYF AFRICA: “It is imperative to send a strong message of optimism about the future of the global economy, work to redefine corporate governance, create longterm value and reinvent business models by bringing together all stakeholders in the economy.”
African nations are experiencing growth like never before and NYF AFRICA will use this optimism and momentum to be something of “an ideas laboratory, a global influencer and creator of initiatives”, says its founder, strategic communications consultant Richard Attias, who set up NYF AFRICA after the success of the New York Forum, now in its third year.
Africa “has the potential to become the solution to the world’s economic woes, from being a mere additional problem,” says Attias.
President Bongo agrees: “Africa has demonstrated steady growth in the past several years and will be the source of much future global prosperity, so it is important that international business leaders begin to focus on it.”
Among the multitude of themes up for discussion are: facilitating access to finance in Africa; developing tourism and technology; exploiting talent and entrepreneurship; and improving security. Networking events are planned to foster links between African business leaders and other growth regions of the world.
High-level speakers include African Union chairman Jean Ping, French economist and commentator Jacques Attali and chief economist of the World Bank’s Africa region Shanta Devarajan. Nearly 150 participants including McKinsey, Goldman Sachs, Global Partnerships Forum, Airbus and Orange Telecom have confirmed they will attend.
Gabon was chosen as host because of its centrality, “booming economy, stable governance and strong infrastructure”, says Attias. It is a key opportunity for Gabon to make contacts and generate ideas for economic development in the country.
Women are not forgotten; on June 11, Gabon’s First Lady Sylvia Bongo will join Cécilia Attias, wife of Richard Attias, in hosting Dialogue for Action Africa. This day-long forum will find sustainable solutions to some of the challenges African women face – lack of access to education and jobs, health concerns and insecurity – to help them, and their nations, prosper.
“Women are the bedrock of our society and, thanks to their formidable energy, contribute greatly to the economic development of our countries and the creation of more just and unified societies,” said Mrs
Bongo ahead of the forum.
Proposals from both forums will be presented to the G20 Summit at Los Cabos, Mexico, which takes place from June 18-19.
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Vaila Finch
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